Category Archives: Book Picked Me

Euphoria

Thoughts by Lily King, Blackstone Audio 2014, 6 hours 53 minutes

Narrated by the Simon Vance and Xe Sands.

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: Historical Fiction/Jungle anthropology

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible freebie

What It’s About: Imaginary (loosely based on) life of Margaret Mead and her marriage to an Australian anthropologist, while working with an English anthropologist.

The English guy (Bankson or Bateson? I could never tell and am too lazy to look it up) is ready to chuck it all when he meets Nell and Fen. Nell is serious and amazing, dedicated and impressive. Fen is an asshole. (WHY? she ever married him is beyond me.) They have escaped a study assignment where the people were mean and scary and Nell had had to flee. Fen begrudgingly followed her out — because Nell provides the funding, so yea. The English-Anthropologist convinces Nell and Fen to come to his study area of a remote hot tropical island and introduces them to a tribe no one is currently studying so they set up camp.

English-Anthropologist (E-A) is fascinated by how Nell approaches her work and whaddya-know! he falls in love with Nell. Nell isn’t possessive and believes in free-love so she loves E-A back, or at least while Fen is out and about. Eventually Fen does something stupid and they all, Nell and Fen and helped along by E-A, have to escape.

Thoughts: This is mostly about the love triangle and a lot of it is in E-A’s internal monologue. On a story level, it kinda sucked. But I was sucked in by the passions and by the narration. Simon Vance and Xe Sands are excellent; the words they spoke were entrancing to me.

It ends tragically, really REALLY bad. I think I have a another favorite author.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Vesper Flights

Thoughts by Helen Macdonald, Recorded Books 2020, 10 hours 22 minutes

Narrated by the author. Winner of TOP FIVE Audiobooks by AudioFile magazine.

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction, essays on nature

Type/Source: Audiobook/Libby

What It’s About: Essays on nature and birds and more nature and other stuff that interests the author. She’s a very good writer. My favorite of this collection has to be the one about her first job out of university, at a falcon incubator (?) farm in Wales.

Thoughts: Macdonald’s previous published title, H is for Hawk , is one of the very best audiobooks I have ever had the privilege of listening to. I read Vesper Flights on the strength of my admiration for Helen Macdonald.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Book of Longings

Thoughts by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking 2020, 432 pages

Challenge: For two books clubs in June

Genre/Theme: Imaginative Historical Fiction

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle

What It’s About: Sue Monk Kidd allowed her imagination to spark in this possible version of a wife of Jesus. She drew upon the real setting and times, history – events – culture. And threw in a lot independence and fiery determination.

The reader first meets Ana who is the only child of a high ranking government official who indulges his daughter’s thirst for knowledge. She fights against an arranged marriage to an old schemer, …

“Few girls find happiness in the beginning, but this is a marriage of honor. You will want for nothing.” I will want for everything.

… and meets Jesus in the marketplace. Things happen, etc. and then some, eventually Ana lives a most unusual but not impossible life. Kidd had fun with this and she delivers.

Thoughts: I thought this very well done. I did have a few questions, and warning – these are somewhat spoilery:

  1. What was the reasoning for not having Ana know about Jesus rising from the dead. Obviously, to assume an answer is to suggest it was a good way to end the tale. With Jesus dying, Ana can move on with her life as a widow and be able to pursue a goal to share her voice.
  2. Did Mary NOT tell Jesus about his status – if that is the right word – about how she became pregnant and what the angels told her? She seemed not to be ‘in the know’ like I would expect. I did like Mary, as she was presented as a very kind woman.

According to Judith and Berenice, the only women who write are sinners and necromancers. I ask you, how do they know this?

(For Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays)

Rating: Four slices of pie. Pie? No mentions that I noticed. Doesn’t fit the time period.

 

A thin, gray hopelessness crept into the air. I didn’t want them to give up. It was true I no longer believed in the God of rescue, only the God of presence, but I believed in Sophia, who whispered bravery and wisdom in my ear day and night, if I would only listen, and I tried now to do that, to listen.

 

I bless the largeness within you. I wish nurturing for your creativity and may you be brave.

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Library Book

Thoughts by Susan Orlean, Simon & Schuster 2018, 317 HC pages

Narrated by the author, 12 hours 9 minutes

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: NonFiction/History – Libraries, LA Library Fire 1986, more

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible

What It’s About: Orlean talks about libraries in general, a library specific – the fire at the main branch in LA, the people who work there now, the people who worked there then: in 1986, when a fire erupted in the stacks, and her personal memories of using and loving the library. And more! the history of the building itself, the architect, the craziness of some of the former Chief Librarians, the case accusing Harry Peak of arson, the changing landscape of prosecuting the crime of arson, all sorts of good stuff.

Thoughts: I very much enjoyed this. I sped it up to 1.8x because whoa! does Ms. Orlean talk slow. It jumps around, it goes back and forth in time, so in some respects, this is perfect for audio and in others, not great. Very interesting discussion of the male and female in regards to who held the position of LA Librarian over time.

In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library has burned. When I first heard the phrase, I didn’t understand it, but over time I came to realize it was perfect. Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual’s consciousness is a collection of memories we’ve cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

.“librarians should “read as a drunkard drinks or as a bird sings or a cat sleeps or a dog responds to an invitation to go walking, not from conscience or training, but because they’d rather do it than anything else in the world.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Blind Dog Stories

Thoughts by Caroline D Levin, 1999, 100 pages

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Nonfiction, Special Needs Dog
Type/Source: Tradeback, Library
 Why I read this now:  Came in to the library

MOTIVATION for READING: Oz, our new baby:

We adopted Oz a few days before Christmas  —  the breed group on Facebook had a post telling of his predicament. His human had died, the widow was unable to care for him. With him only a few hours away, we swooped in and took him home with us.

Come to find out, after treatment for his intense ear infections, after grooming all the mats out of his hair, after his anxiety of being in a new place with new people and with a not-so-welcoming ‘older sister’, he has SARDS. Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. The vets shrug – nothing to do.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I read these stories of blind dogs – all sorts of overcoming and inspiration because it was written by the same author, a veterinarian, who has a Guidebook about caring for blind dogs. That one I have to purchase; the library didn’t have a copy.

Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half sorrow. -Swedish Proverb

THOUGHTS: Yes, I cried. But in a good way. Blind dogs get along fine and they can be trained. The challenge will be worth it.

RATING:  

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Lion Cross Point

Thoughts by Masatsugu Ono, Two Lines Press 2018/2013, 121 pages

Translated from Japanese by Angus Turvill

Challenge:  none
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback, Scuppernongs Bookstore Mystery Purchase
 Why I read this now:  One of the shortest and newest books to my shelf.

MOTIVATION for READING: To honor the selections sent to me in a mystery purchase box to support independent bookstores. A covid purchase.

“… his mother’s face slipped like smoke between the fingers of his memory.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A 4th grader finds himself in his mother’s home town and dreading anyone who asks about her or his brother. We are never told what happened to propel his being in this new situation but we build in our imagination what possibly took place based on his fears and memory flashbacks. This is very much a book about memories and premonitions, spirits and hauntings, guilt and confusion. The past and present merge.

“Any memories that might rise up from the dark depths inside him would be memories of this land between the green hills and dark blue sea, this land that was now sinking into the depths of night.”

THOUGHTS: It ends very abruptly.

Likely a fabulous book to unpack in a literature class.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

 

From Night, poetry collection by Etel Adnan, 2016:

And night and memory mediate each other. We move in them disoriented, for they often refuse to secure our vision. Avaricious, whimsical, they release things bit by bit.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Empty Mansions

Thoughts by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr, Ballantine Books 2013, 459 pages

Challenge:  for an online Facebook book club,  (but it might have been canceled – I can’t find it on our upcoming events)
Genre: Nonfiction, “Lives of the Rich & Famous”
Type/Source: Hardcover, don’t recall where I got it (free/borrow shelf at the apt complex, perhaps)
 Why I read this now:  Nonfiction November

MOTIVATION for READING: I do have a little bit obsession with the turn of the century mansions…

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Huguette lived a very long life as the youngest daughter of a very very rich American tycoon. Her last few decades, she had hidden herself away.

THOUGHTS: I thought this book would make me mad – about spoiled rich people and their eccentricities and the descendants who greedily crave access. But that is too simple. Mostly this made me sad. That she probably would have died 20 years or more earlier by wasting away in her apartment alone before finally seeking medical care. That she truly did enrich those she cared for deeply and many gratefully considered her a friend and benefactor. That I do not doubt at all that those who did manage to access her space and thoughts took advantage of her but glad that she was also a shrewd manager of her self and projects.

I will always wonder about her marriage! Yikes. But very cool that she remained friends with her ex over the subsequent decades.

I have soft spot in my heart for her because she was a Gemini and was fond of my favorite art gallery in DC:  The Corcoran. May she rest in peace.

The full title is Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Haunting of Hill House

Thoughts by Shirley Jackson, Blackstone Audio 2010 (orig 1959), 7 hour 36 minutes

Bernadette Dunne (Narrator)

“It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope.”

Challenge: Readers in Peril XV
Genre: Doesn’t Shirley Jackson have her own genre?
Type/Source: Audio
 Why I read this now:  Only a coincidence that my reading this happened to be during RIP, to be honest. I needed an audiobook, this one was available. I’ve always wanted to read it. Because Shirley.F.Jackson.

MOTIVATION for READING: See sentence above.

“Don’t do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don’t do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A professor attempting to find a big breakthrough for his research and to make his place in Academia, invites many possible apprentices to join him in a stay at a house of ill (horror) repute. Only a few take him up on it.

But they are ALL IN, Baby!

THOUGHTS: So, I’ve maybe seen the movie? maybe PIECEs of the movie? I seem to know enough about that movie with (Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson) but not quite the same. Same enough! Minor creative differences, is all.

The house is actually COOL, in its off kilter slightly not-square way. And the buildup is great. The guy who built the place was obviously way off his rocker and nothing is explained.

Only survived…

“I like apple pie with sour cream.”

I enjoyed the telling, I enjoyed the descriptions and the sense of place – extremely well done. I did see Lili as Eleanor and I could see CZJ as Theo, too. Liam Neeson will never be the professor. Yes, Jackson is a master – so good. Not really that scary in print, methinks. I may never watch the movie again nor the miniseries recently. I’m just NOT a scary movie person.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Ducks, Newburyport

Thoughts by Lucy Ellman, Biblioasis 2019, 1001 pages

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Purchased Online, probably from Amazon :/  Made up for that by buying one from RiffRaff in PVD.
 Why I read this now:  It had to be read.

MOTIVATION for READING: The Main Character – referred to going forward as “MC” (I don’t even know if we get her name) – bakes pies to sell to local restaurants to help the family finances. Her signature dish is Apple Tarte Tatin – something I have yet to attempt. Apparently they can be tricky.

, according to Stephen Hawking the human world will end within 1000 years, but I think it could be a lot sooner, and my response to this is to make more pies and read recipe books,

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is the streaming consciousness of MC, a mother of 4 who has had some serious health challenges and misses her mother who died when her own daughter, her oldest, was a toddler. Her husband is a professor of structural engineering and is a bridge expert. He is the father to the 3 youngest kids, step to the oldest — of course the first husband is not ideal, though she would never speak ill of him in front of their daughter. MC rambles in her head about her memories of which she constantly claims she cannot remember, her siblings, her upbringing, tragedies that happen in the world, her pies, her mothering challenges, politics, her doubts and fears, her grocery lists, the old movies she watches while she bakes, her chickens, her childhood pets, her childhood travels – all the houses and places she lived in. She hates Trump, is anti-gun, is polite to a fault and is shy around people; cripplingly-shy. She loves her husband dearly – he’s a good man. All the kids are cute as a button and have their own wants, needs, interests which she enumerates for pages at a time. That’s a fact! It’s her day to day to day to day in her head ramblings.

Every so often, the story shifts to a mountain lion momma of three and her travels around the state of Ohio. Lots of geography, topography and history of Ohio. Their paths intersect of course and it was tense, I tell ya!  of exactly HOW that might play out!  oh, it’s a thriller, truly. It was maddening trying to imagine where the book was going.

THOUGHTS: This is not a book I would recommend to just anyone. I only know a few people who would like it, love it, as much as I did. I am pretty sure, my IRL friends now know that I’m a really strange reader when I would LOVINGLY describe the book and how long it was taking me to read. They would back up slowly, wide-eyed, quietly muttering, “hmmm, ok, sounds interesting. not.”  I started it in April. I finished near the end of August. I sometimes would let weeks go by without turning a page. Sometimes, I would read one or two pages a day. Then conquer over 100+ in a weekend.

,the fact that I think a lot of people think all I think about is pie, when really it’s my spinal brain doing most of the peeling and caramelizing and baking and flipping, while I just stand there spiraling into a panic about my mom and animal extinctions and the Second Amendment just like everybody else,

RATING:  So why am I only giving this four slices of pie? I fear that sometimes, I give 5 stars to a book as a reward for getting me to read it. I think we (by which I mean “ME”) get brainwashed that we must actually be loving the experience of submerging so much time and energy into a chunkster that we MUST justify it with a high glowing review.

But I had some issues. I had an issue with the dog and probably should research if this is based in fact. (The fact is…) and I had issue that they – the stupid zoo people – that they didn’t realize or WATCH the     (SPOILER ALERT!!!!  hover over to reveal the white colored text so as not to spoil anything: Really?!  they didn’t realize that this momma was the 3 kittens mother and they didn’t watch the reunion? I don’t believe and if I ever read about a review from a big cat zookeeper reading this book – if you do! please share….)

So four stars for a quibble but I did love it. I will never not associate Ducks, Newburyport with the pandemic. That is reason enough not to give it 5 stars. Or maybe that is reason, actually, to anoint it 5 stars? Whatever.

So much pie. So much wonderful pie! so many terrific pie mentions!!! I probably should give Ellman the coveted Pie in Literature award for 2020 and call it done.

I would HATE it if they ever attempt to make a movie from this book. OMG, I would see it day one if they do. It’s a deceptively simple book in plot but wowza finding it! (Are they making movies yet?!)

The fact that it’s important not to despair though when you’ve got pies in the oven, …, the fact that you have to have mercy on your pies, be there for your pies, and in return they will be good dutiful pies and serve you, …

I really hope I reread this book someday.

pierating

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Pie As Art

Thoughts by Laura Rene Baker, 2020, 91 pages

Challenge: Pie Cookbooks
Genre: Pie Cookbooks
Type/Source: Spiral-bound, from the author (piebakerlady.com)
 Why I read this now:  I started reading as soon as I opened the package after arriving on my doorstep.

MOTIVATION for READING: I know the author; we’re friends from college.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  The author not only created the recipes, baked all the pies, wrote the copy, took the photos, PAINTED the artwork OF the pies, and likely assembled the books; she is probably responsible for the mailing of all of them out to her adoring fans.

I used the Peach Pan Pie as my inspiration for Peach Plum in my Cast Iron Pan:

THOUGHTS: I am thrilled for my friend!

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

I will give away a copy of this book to a random selection from the people who leave me a comment here on this post or like my tweet of this review plus follow @PieBakerLady and Retweet something she posted there or comment on my Instagram post or Litsy. Thus, you have multiple opportunities to win! Max of 5 entries; deadline August 4th midnight EST.

Book only; not the pie plates…

I’m not doing this to market myself, only to highlight my friend Laura’s accomplishment.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.